Technology at a Job Interview

In today’s world we have come accustomed to having our phone with us at all times. And with that some of us do seem to be unaware of how using it at the wrong time can be bad.

One of those times is during a Job Interview.

When at an interview not only is is distracting to the interviewer to hear a phone vibrate or make a sound, it could bring down your rating.

And it’s even worst when you actually take the phone out to see who calling, return a text or answer the phone.

The best course of action would be to turn the phone off while in the interview. Even better would be to not take it into the interview at all. That way you won’t even be temped to use the phone.

Does Social Media Make Us Do Dumb Things

It seems that everyday we hear about a celebrity or society figure doing stupid things via facebook or twitter. This leads us to the question. Does social media make us do dumb things?

I don’t think that it’s directly related to social media. We all do stupid things at times, but usually it’s only those people with whom we are with that know about it.

What seems to happen is when we do those stupid things, usually at times when our thinking may be compromised, we decide to send it to our friends via facebook or twitter. And not only are our closest friends seeing it, so is anyone else who is linked into those accounts.

And once it’s out there, it can’t be erased. At least not totally. You can hide it on facebook, or delete it from twitter. But if someone had decided to download that picture with you jugging down that big drink before you hide or deleted it, they can re-post it. And from there it can go viral.

Then again I suppose some of these dumb things that celebrities do is put up and quickly taken down could be done just to generate publicity. For them even bad publicity can be good publicity, but if you are an alcohol counselor, that photo of you going drink wild is most likely a detriment.

It’s not so much the dumb things we do, it’s the dumb things that we proudly share and then regret that are dumb. And it’s only because social media is easy to use that make it seems as if social media makes us do dumb things.

A Sandy Aftermath

Sandy, a storm that will go down in history, is just about over. You may have been impacted by the Hurricane, the east coast from the Carolinas to Maine. Our deepest thoughts and sympathies goes out to those in New Jersey and New York. Or the snows that have covered portions of Appalachian.

For example in my state of residence, Maryland, there has been damage to Ocean City, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, and Crisfield, on the Chesapeake Bay. Both of these towns have had issues with flooding. In the western part of the State, in the Appalachian Mountains, experienced Blizzard conditions with one area getting nearly 30 inches of snow.

But now it’s time to get back to business. One of the thing that business owners can do is to work with their employees in getting their affairs in order. The sooner that they can set their minds at ease the sooner they can turn their attention fully back to work.

Let your customers know how you are doing by using your Social Media, email list and any other means you have in communicating with them.

Don’t forget to document your cleanup efforts. Theses may be needed later for insurance or other purposes.

The Washington Post has published a list of resources where small businesses can look for help. (Website)

Wishing all of those who have been impacted by Sandy good luck in a quick recovery.

What’s your Social Media Policy?

Everyday thousands are joining in Social Media. This is anything from your employees with their own Social Media agenda to your business.

As I have said before you should be thinking about Social Media, whether you want to activity run with it or not. One sure thing, your competition is.

But right now I’m thinking do you have a Social Media policy for your business and employees. Today I read an article on it and in it lawyer Ed Harold, a partner at Fisher & Phillips was quoted as saying “We recommend that all employers adopt social-media policies, because if you don’t in advance notify your employers of what’s appropriate or inappropriate behavior, later on it’s harder to hold them accountable for behavior you didn’t like.”

As related in that article there are three things that employers do need to be aware in accordance with National Labor Relations Board laws:

1) Employers cannot restrict anyone from commenting on his or her work life.
2) Employers can make sure employees sign confidentiality provisions.
3) Employees can’t lie.

Full text of the article can be found at:

Getting Social

Are you part of Social Media?
If not you probably ought to be considering it. One of the quickest ways for a businesses to lose customers or worst not gain new ones is to not look current. And to be current in today’s business environment is to be somewhat active in Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. A newer one and one that is picking up steam is Pinterest.

It doesn’t take much time to become active in Social Media, but one thing is that you can’t just put up a Facebook page or open a Twitter account and not keep it active. An old Facebook page will have some thinking that you may not be in business.

You may not want to don’t trust your Social Media to Interns. Too many times stories have been told of Interns creating the Social Media logins and not to give the passwords when they leave.

Keep the content current. One twitter account I happen to follow had an automatic tweet set up for an announce an upcoming event. One that occurred over a month ago. Automatic tweets are acceptable, although I would prefer that you simply keep active and be social a few minutes a couple of times each day.

Of prime importance to keep in mind when you become social is that the idea of Social Media is to connect with others. And like any other relationship it takes time and plenty of work. But don’t be afraid to try it. In the end it’ll be to your advantage.

But all I want to do is be able to make and answer calls!

Does it really matter what kind of features you have on your telephone if you don’t know how to use them? Sometimes additional features are more of a hindrance than a benefit.

What do you need to do?

Many times all you need to do is be able to answer or make calls. If that is the case all you need is a Plain Old Telephone Set.

But a question that has been raised, Is the telephone that we had when we were kids dead?

The quick answer to that is no and it may never die. Although to the home it may, but I feel this may not be for many years to come.

Why do you still need an old wired telephone in the house/off and to the telephone company?

With the common use of wireless (cellular) and internet phones many people have stopped using and turned off their house phones. What’s the danger of doing this? Your internet phone needs electric to run the under laying device for this to work. This would include the internet router as well as the modem. Once they lose power, the phone now fails to work. An old fashioned wire telephone plugged into the wall and connected to the telephone company will continue to work without power, so long as the telephone company has power and they have huge generators that will work for a long time.

What about the wireless phone? These aren’t as effected by the lost of electricity so long as you have a way to keep them charged. But there is a limit on how many concurrent telephone conversations can be held to a cellular tower. That’s why at time of extreme use, you can get a text out, but can’t make a phone call. They use different radio channels and protocols.

Also Fax Lines (although I will admit more people are not using these) and security systems don’t always work with internet (VoIP) lines.

Then there are the older generation who have not converted to internet phones nor cellular. Unless they are forced by telephone companies to change, they may never convert. And some of these people are those who simply want to make and answer calls.

Are You on Facebook?

I’m not going to say that you should be a facebook user. But I do think that your decision should be based on a number of factors, including your time commitment, and your approach to social media in general.

A recent conducted research of Co-Tweet and ExactTarget may assist in making that decision. Here are the Top 10 Motivations for Consumers to “Like” and Follow a Brand and on Facebook:

1. 40% want to receive discounts and promotions

2. 37% want to show support for the brand/company

3. 36% hope (want) to get free samples, a coupon (a.k.a. freebies)

4. 34% want to stay informed about the activities of the company

5. 33% want to get updates on future products

6. 30% want to get updates and information on future sales

7. 27% like to get fun and entertainment out of it

8. 25% want to get access to exclusive content

9. 22% mentioned they were referred by someone to follow this brand/company

10. 21% want just to learn more about the company

Creating a Greener Office

The 3 R’s – Recycle, Reuse and Reduce
Everything has a beginning and the simplest beginning to creating a greener office is to follow the 3 R’s. Some of the things that you can do is; Recycle toner cartridges and paper. (Shreadded paper can be recycled too).

Use mugs and cups that display your logo and other company information. Replace disposable items with items that can be reused. By adding the company logo on them is a creative use of the advertising dollar.

Along with the invention of computers it was going to help create a paperless society. Instead we seem to be using more paper. Try to print only those documents that are required and when possible use recycled paper.

If you don’t think an item can be recycled or reused check. You may be surprised.

Do an Energy Audit
Having an energy audit performed is a way to find some quick and inexpensive ways to conserve energy. One quick way is to walk through the office either a few hours before work begins or after the work day ends. Look for items that are on that could be turned off such as computers, lights or copiers.

It’s a misconception that equipment last longer if they are not turned off.

A screen saver doesn’t save energy. It can at times use more.

Is the office temperature comfortable during these off hours walks? If they are thermostat temperatures need to be adjusted.

Even during the day look for lights that are on all day in rooms that are seldom used. These rooms may be a candidate for installation of room sensors light timers

Keep the Office Comfortable
While we are thinking about the temperature in the office, How does it feel? Is it hot in one place , but cold in another? This may be a problem with the HVAC system or possibly as simple as a blocked thermostat.

Recommended office temperature for winter months is 68-72 degrees and for the summer is 74 to 80.

How hot is the hot water? A hot water heater in the office environment only needs to have its water temperature at around 120 degrees, but many of them are set for 140 or hotter!

Schedule Trips Wisely
Running back and forth from one end of town to another not only is a waste of time, but also a waste of energy. Try to schedule appointments with clients in the same vicinity on the same day.

Need to make a trip to the Office Supply house? See if a nearby client would like you to drop by.

Or schedule those out of the office trips to correspond with the commute to or from work.

Use Nature
Use natural light instead of overhead lights. Opening the blinds can also help to heat in the winter, but you’ll want to close them to the sun in the summer.

Adding a plant into the office area not only makes it a more pleasing place, it also helps to filter out carbon dioxide and increase oxygen.

Take a System Approach
The best way to have a green office and to maintain it is to take it across the entire system. All employees from the owner to the part-time delivery person needs to work together. Like a chain, keeping a green office is only as strong as the weakest link.

© 2008 Steven G. Atkinson – All Rights Reserved

Tips to Save Gas

Gas prices seem to have stabilized and even has been on the decrease. Hopefully they won’t rise again, probably though this is wishful thinking.

Here are 6 tips do to help use less gas.

Don’t drive if you don’t have to.
This seems obvious, but how often do we get in the car to drive just a few blocks. If you are close enough to your destination to walk or even ride a bike. Do so. Not only will it save on use of the gas, but you will also be getting exercise.

Combine errands.
Plan the trip before you even start it making the stops in the most efficient route. Not only is this a gas saver it’s also a time safer.

Use the air conditioner smartly.
When traveling at speeds over 40 miles an hour you actually use more fuel by having your windows open, then using the air conditioner. In Stop and Go traffic though it’s more fuel efficient to turn the air condition off and open the windows.

Keep the vehicle well maintained.
Under inflated tires can decrease gas mileage. Many newer tires may look properly inflated, but still be under inflated. Seasonal temperature changes can also change the air pressure of the tire. You will also want to keep the other parts of the vehicle well maintained such as keeping the air filter clean and regularly changing the oil.

Lighten the load.
Each extra 100 pounds can decrease the gas mileage by 2%. Don’t leave the golf clubs in the trunk unless you are planning on using them.

Don’t unnecessary idle the vehicle.
A non-moving vehicle gets 0 miles to the gallon and starting a vehicle uses no more gas than one sitting idle for less than 10 seconds. The best way to warm up a vehicle is by driving it. You don’t need to have it idling to warm up, even in cold weather.

Picking Your Domain Name

Amazingly I find that many small businesses still do not have an online presence and some of those who do are using shared sites such as weebly, BraveNet and Yola.

Having your own Domain Name is best.

Unless you have an unusual business name it’s quite possible that you may not be able to register the exact name of you business as your Domain Name. And that may also not be the right path. Web sites are developed using Key Words and having some of these in your Domain Name could help with search engine ratings.

Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a Domain Name.

Keep It Simple
Your domain name should be catchy and easy to remember. You don’t want to use hyphens and even though at one time I used the number 4 instead of ‘For’, using numbers aren’t advisable. Nor are misspellings. But do use misspellings if it’s a part of your business name.

Make It Part of Your Identity
Do you have a marketing catch phrase? You may want to consider using it as your Domain Name. But follow the above advice and keep it short and simple. It’s best to use four or less words and around fifteen letters, but less than 20.

Use the Correct Extension
For businesses in the United States the best extension to use is still .com. It will probably remain that way for a time into the future. A newer extension being used for business is .biz, but most people may still type in .com instead and be directed to someplace else.

Don’t be Afraid to Register More Than One Extension
When registering a .com domain it may be a good idea to also register the .biz and .info. At one time I would have said to register .net, but this domain name seems to be falling out of favor. But to be safe, register it as well.

Use this chart to better understand the different types of domain name extensions.

.Com – company/commercial, but it can pretty much be used for any website.
.Net – network and is habitually used for a network of sites.
.Org – organization and is meant to be for non-profit entities.
.Us, .Nu, .Co, .Uk, – Are country specific domain extensions that may require the registrant to be a national of the said country.
.Biz, .Info – These and other like them are domain extensions that have been added as there are barely any little and plain domain addresses left to apply for.
.xxx – Need I explain.

Businesses aren’t the only ones that could benefit by having a Domain Name. Do you blog? Part of a hobby group? or Organization? A Web Presence can help with communicating information about just about anything and everything.